Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Heart is Breaking

Here I am living far away in New York, and I am weary of the Mideast conflict that never seems to end. But in Gaza it has finally ended for many. In the loss of homes, schools, places of worship. And of course, life. As a human being and a citizen of this world, I feel it is incumbent at the very least to try to understand the conflict. But of course I cannot, much in the way I don't understand all the animosity between the Indians and Pakistanis, and the British and the Irish, and the Spaniards and the Basques. Is there any point in trying to understand when those closest to the conflict say to me, "Oh, just stay out of our business, you'll never understand." Is that what we're supposed to do? Just mind our own business? Watch on helplessly as millions of lives get displaced and destroyed? Is death the only solution to discord?


Anonymous said...

I think the whole Israel vs. Palestine conflict is far more intractable than the Irish or Basque conflicts you mention.
I'd venture to say this is mainly due to the geopolitical mess caused by foreign involvement (be it Western or Middle Eastern) coupled with true hardline fanatics (say the murder of Rabin or other moderate leaders who are willing to compromise) with undue influence on both sides.
Say, a timely suicide bombing or rocket attacks can derail any progress in peace talks, lead to a forceful Israeli response where civilians suffer and creates further hatred for the other side.
The current mess has been festering for quite some time and it's only the current environment of upcoming Israeli elections, low oil prices (little leverage by Middle Eastern oil producers) and the transition in the White House that led to the Israeli response.

In the end I'm not hopeful for lasting peace in that part of the world basically because of this question: What do hardliners on either side have to gain from a two state solution or peace? Nothing and it's to easy for them to ruin any progress.


J.T. said...

While I do believe that geopolitics has played a role in worsening the situation, isn't the original conflict between Jews and Arabs essentially one based on cultural antagonisms? In a part of the world where grudges live on for generations and generations.

If history teaches us anything it is that people of different cultures do not cohabitate peacefully, that everyone needs their own space. I wonder. Are there more people who believe the problem is determining how much space everyone is entitled to? Or more who believe that the problem is determining if people are entitled to space at all.